Avocado and cheese vegetarian empanadas recipe

  • 82 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins,
  • Cook: 22 mins
  • Yield: 16 empanadas (16 servings)
Slightly sweet but mostly savory, these almost-gourmet Mexican meatless emapanadas could be served as an appetizer at a dinner party, an after-school snack for the kids, or as part of a Mexican-themed meal. They're made with a soft homemade dough, filled with ancho chilies, Mexican cotija cheese and avocadoes and baked in the oven instead of fried, so they're a bit lower in fat than other empanada recipes.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Avocadoes from Mexico.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup butter (at room temperature)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 3 ancho chiles (stems and seeds removed(
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion (sliced thin)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • 8 ounces cotija cheese (or feta cheese, crumbled)
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup sesame seeds

How to Make It

To make the empanada dough: In a mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt; mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Remove to a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 45 minutes or up to 24 hours.

To make the avocado and ancho chili filling: Place ancho chiles in a bowl; cover with boiling water.

Set aside until soft and plump, about 10 minutes. Drain the chiles, then coarsely chop and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onion; cook until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in ancho chiles, vinegar, sugar and remaining salt; cook and stir until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl then add avocado and cheese. Gently mix well and season with salt to taste.

To assemble the empanadas: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Between two sheets of wax paper, roll out chilled dough until about 1/8-inch thick. With a 4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 16 rounds.

With a pastry brush, lightly brush edges of the rounds with the beaten egg. Divide filling onto centers of the rounds. Fold and lightly stretch one side of each round over the filling to line up with the other edge of the round. With a fork, press edges to seal.

Place the empanadas on the baking sheet. Lightly brush tops with the egg; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until golden, 20 to 22 minutes.

Enjoy your vegetarian avocado and cheese baked empanadas!

If you like trying meat-free Mexican-inspired recipes such as this one, here's a few more to try: